During the month of December, over 25 percent of home fires are caused by holiday decorating — claiming over 500 homes in the U.S. annually. Kitchen fires are also more prevalent during the holidays, as it is easier to become distracted and forget about the food that is cooking. People falling off ladders or furniture while trying to hang decorations is the next biggest culprit of holiday accidents.
During the holidays we are likely to cook while distracted, scale the rooftops to hang decorations and dodge the extra bodies and objects that land in our homes during gatherings. While all of these activities are fun and festive, they can also be potentially dangerous. We are often distracted by people, time restrictions, or that extra glass of holiday bubbly. Taking on potentially dangerous projects while we are not fully present can be a recipe for disaster, not to mention a holiday buzzkill.
You can keep holiday cheer from turning into holiday fear by being cognizant of the dangers that are inherent in the home this time of the year. Here are some tips to ensure you celebrate the holidays in the home and out of the emergency room.
Hang objects you can’t reach with a safe and sturdy ladder. Teetering chairs and reaching beyond what is safe is tempting fate. and…..make sure to refrain from imbibing in that holiday cheer before starting the project!
Check for flammable objects close to ovens and open flames. Never store kitchen towels, pot holders, aprons or flammable objects near ovens or burners. Just because the dish towels are outside the oven doesn’t mean they can’t catch on fire. This is one of the most common causes of kitchen fires. If you don’t have a good place to hang dish towels, get a hook that goes over a cupboard door and hang it there, making sure it is at least four feet from the oven.
Don’t wear draping sleeves while cooking. Beware of the over sized sleeves of that cozy bathrobe or the fabulous blouse while cooking holiday meals. I remember seeing my new bathrobe sleeves go up into flames one Christmas morning and was shocked at how quickly they caught on fire. The flames seemed to leap up out of nowhere. Thank goodness I could get out of it easily or I would have been one crispy critter!
Beware of cooking knives and sharp, plastic cases – Those horrible shrink-wrapped plastic gifts cause hundreds of injuries during the holidays. I hate them and will forgo buying something that is shrink wrapped. It is bad for the environment and it makes us all crazy wrestling the object out of it. We are already distracted with all of the activities and need to be extra careful when handling sharp objects during this time. Make sure you have a first-aid kit handy and don’t drink and cut!
Beware of poisonous plants - Poisonous plants are in abundance in our homes during the holidays so keep them out of the reach of children and pets. This includes poinsettias, mistletoe, holly berries, ivy, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. If a child or pet does ingest them take them to immediately to emergency services.
Beware of the potential for electric shock – Electric shock brings over 5,000 people to the emergency room during the holidays annually. Make sure extension cords are not frayed, overloaded and don’t ever run them under rugs or any kind of fabric. Always unplug them when not in use.
Design traffic patterns – Beware of objects people can trip on and have a place for everything to land when it enters your home. As soon as friends and family come in greet them with a hug and steer them into the designated room for all purses, coats, presents and non-food items.
Being cognizant of these potential holiday hazards and planning ahead will insure you can enjoy all of the holiday cheer and none of the headaches! Happy Holidays!
Erica Sofrina is a Nationally recognized speaker, teacher and author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also the founder of the Academy of Feng Shui where she offers her programs both in person and on-line. You can contact her at www.ericasofrina.com